Five fabulous French aperitifs

Written by on May 21, 2014 in Wine and Drinks

aperitif in France

In France, the traditional Apéritif is a ritual! Before eating dinner (and sometimes lunch), the French like to have an apéritif with friends – a cocktail, liqueur or fruit juice. It isn’t traditional to have this with every meal but more when sharing with friends and family – either at home or at a restaurant.

The apéritif is normally served with light snacks such as olives, little cheese snacks or crackers, nuts or crisps – it is a chance to relax and chat before eating – an opportunity to build up the momentum to a great meal! An  apéritif is also called an apéro for short in France.

It’s common to touch glasses and say “Santé!” (good health!) or “Tchin Tchin!” (cheers!)

Traditional drinks like Pastis (add five parts water and watch it turn milky for a true French experience) or strong alcohols like whisky are served. You’ll also find local specialities (every region will have its own favourite) and some well-known cocktails will be offered, particularly in restaurants.

Here are our five of the best French aperitifs

Lillet is a wine based drink which can be red or white. First marketed in 1887 it was immortalised in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (inspired by Le Touquet) when James Bond ordered a barman to make “A dry martini. One. In a deep champagne goblet… Three measures of Gordon’s [gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Bond named the drink a Vesper after the character Vesper Lynd. The white Lillet is served with a twist of orange for a classic aperitif.

Kir and Kir Royale – White wine and crème de Cassis (blackcurrant) mixed in a small flute is a common apéro and very refreshing. Mix the crème with sparkling wine or Champagne and you have a Kir Royale! You can also have different crème mixers like peach and cherry.

Byrrh (pronounced beer— which isn’t very helpful if someone else wants beer!) is a red-wine-based quinine drink. Created in 1866 it is refreshing and slightly nutty. Caves Byrrh, is the largest producer of wine-based aperitifs in France.

Suze is a classic French apéritif which was created in 1885. It is a distillation of the roots of the gentian plant and is rather bitter and earthy but very refreshing.

Dubonnet is another classic French apéritif.  Joseph Dubonnet created his namesake apéro in Paris in 1846.White Dubonnet is a dry white wine infused with herbs, while the red is sweet, flavored with spices and quinine.

Make your own classic French Liqueur – Liqueur 44 from Brittany – chocolate, sugar, vodka and orange – delicious!
Vin de Noix recipe – classic French recipe for wine infused with walnuts
French style party ideas
Top Tips for wine tasting tours in France

Tags: ,

Related Articles

Homemade Orange Liqueur recipe from France

Homemade orange liqueur – its deliciously sunny, makes for a great gift and makes for a scrumptious treat. Ingredients 600ml dark rum 1 bottle dry white wine 300g (100ozs) golden caster sugar 8 oranges, unwaxed How to make homemade orange liqueur Peel large strips of zest from the oranges with a vegetable peeler. Divide the […]

Continue Reading

The Very Best Provence Wine Tour

Join a totally unique and utterly wonderful wine tour in Provence that’s like no other! It includes vineyard visits, wine tasting, delicious dishes and, the piece de resistance, a fabulous grape stomp – guaranteed to channel your inner “I Love Lucy”! Provence Wine Tour This is a wine tour in Provence that’s like no other. It […]

Continue Reading

Guide to Epernay Champagne France

Reims may be the capital of Champagne but to the locals of Epernay, their town is the capital of Champagne the drink. Stellar Cellars in Epernay The famous Avenue du Champagne is lined with splendiferous Champagne houses but let’s face it, no visit here is complete without a tour at the Moët et Chandon Champagne […]

Continue Reading

Where Cointreau is made | Angers France

I call myself a Cointreau fan. I’ve enjoyed many a “blue moon”  (Cointreau with lemonade and a dash of lime) in my time, so when I went to Angers, in the heart of the Loire Valley, and discovered Cointreau are based there,  I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to go and see how it’s […]

Continue Reading

Reasons to love France No. 4 Champagne

It’s a pretty good reason to love France I think, or rather two – Champagne the region and Champagne the drink. Both are fabulous. Champagne the region So let’s take the region. A place of vineyards and chateaux, lakes and forests, gentle hills, ancient villages and smart towns and cities like Reims and Epernay.  It’s […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top